We all have heard that “greatness is contagious” and the best way to achieve something is “to surround yourself with people who have already done it.” There are tremendous truths in those statements, but finding and spending time with talented moguls or musicians, lifestyle gurus, or other powerful influencers can seem daunting, especially if your own daily activities don’t appear to parallel theirs.
Alex Kowtun, the Co-founder of Monkey in Paradise Vodka has proven tips to help expand and enhance the network of people around you; help surround you with those who share similar goals, ambitions, and dreams; and help everyone involved feel more inspired.
Find and Appeal to a Great Mentor
Whether your idol is a certain industry leader, athlete, health expert, celebrity, artist, incredible parent or someone else exceptional, the more time you spend together, the more you will learn his or her habits, ways, and connections. The more time you spend together, the more you can absorb and emulate his or her successful qualities, as well as positive perspectives. Research and reach out to your potential mentor any way you can, through social media, by referral, by scheduling an appointment, attending the mentor’s lecture or appearance, or even sending a creative email or video. Some mentors will simply offer their expertise and experience for the sake of giving back. Others will respond enthusiastically if you offer them time and services as a volunteer, intern, or promoter in exchange for their mentorship, or even a stake in an exciting project or cause.
Spend Time Where You Would If You Had Already Achieved Your Goals
One of the most effective ways to find common ground and broker positive connections with those you admire is to pursue hobbies, interests, or activities that involve others with similar passions and goals. For example, if you enjoy equestrian events, exotic car and car racing events, boat shows, golfing, flying lessons, and other exclusive pastimes, you will likely find yourself surrounded by the successful owners and other esteemed enthusiasts of those beautiful horses, cars, boats, golf courses, planes, and more. You may or may not be able to afford their pricey toys and investments yet, but the common ground can lead to terrific conversations, fun experiences, as well as productive collaborations in the future. People tend to invest their time, money, and energies in a person more than they do a plan or product. What better way to develop a potentially life-changing relationship than getting to know someone while doing something you both love?
Stand Out, But For The Right Reasons (aka: Be An Asset, Not An Ass)
It may sound contradictory, but most of us want to simultaneously “fit in” with those we admire, while also “standing out” as remarkable and memorable in a good way. How do you achieve both? One of the best approaches is to dress, communicate, and interact in ways that are consistent with the person or group you admire—while, at the same time, providing value with your own unique talents, connections, experiences, enthusiasm, and outlook. Everyone has a special gift or capacities that just come more effortlessly. Those innate strengths, your conversation, ideas, attitude, gratitude, and even your smile can be invaluable contributions to any exchange, activity, and friendship. As you meet and pursue connections with those you admire or want to collaborate with, you will find that you “fit in” and find your place more easily when you share your outstanding attributes wisely, but genuinely.
Ask For References And Referrals
Successful, thriving people know other capable and successful people–and when you need a specific type of person, resource, or expertise, they can spread the word fast. Whether you are looking for a rock star or a rock star practitioner, industry leader, or expert, don’t be afraid to ask those you admire for referrals or for help spreading the word. It can feel intimidating to ask those you admire for advice or a referral, especially if the need involves a difficult or embarrassing situation. However, the most effective and efficient way to find quality candidates is asking great people for the recommendations. Why not expand your network of impressive people by having their impressive counterparts help refer and navigate?
Remember We Are All Human
It’s true that no human is perfect, including our great idols–but why not learn from the mistakes of someone who is already where you want to be? We are better and more successful versions of ourselves when we are surrounded by others who are doing or striving for the same. Be confident enough to reach out to them, and to get comfortable talking to anyone and everyone you meet. What you have to offer–whether it’s that special talent, perspective, exuberance, or simply common ground–is enough to forge outstanding relationships with the people achieving what you hope to achieve yourself someday. In many cases, what you offer them in return will be powerful too. Never be afraid to surround yourself with amazing people and equally incredible experiences.